Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The long awaited distribution of the iron sheets to the reformed Karamojong warriors has commenced in the Karamoja sub region with a first launch in Abim district.
In November 2023, the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja flagged off the first consignment of iron sheets for distribution in the Karamoja sub region.
In the first phase of the exercise, 97552 iron sheets will be distributed to 3,752 beneficiaries across all the nine districts of Karamoja.
The iron sheets are part of the token that the government promised the reformed Karamojong warriors who voluntarily handed over their guns to the government and embraced peace.
The Office of the Prime Minister launched the distribution of iron sheets on Thursday in Abim district and the exercise is expected to continue to other districts respectively. At least 28 members are targeted to benefit from the iron sheets in the first phase in the Abim town council.
Samuel Kalisa Bigirwa, the Chief Administrative Officer confirmed a receipt of 10686 iron sheets in the first phase to benefit 411 households. The iron sheets distribution exercise started on Thursday and it will run up to Sunday from the respective parishes.
Bigirwa noted that the iron sheets shall be given out to seven beneficiaries per parish while other members shall have to wait for the second phase of the exercise.
He said that they have also contacted the district Engineer to come up with a uniform design that is weather friendly and cheaper for all the beneficiaries.
He reiterated that they do not want a situation where people will construct their own houses then later abandoned because of the heat due to harsh weather conditions.
Bigirwa also added that having a uniform design will help them to track their beneficiaries during the inspections of the project
James Shilaku, the Abim Resident District Commissioner warned the beneficiaries against selling the iron sheets but instead build houses to improve on their livelihoods.
Shilaku ordered the joint security forces to keep an eye on the beneficiaries who received the iron sheets and arrest those who will be attempted to sell. He also urged those who have not yet received the iron sheets to be patient as the government procures more iron sheets for distribution.
He advised the beneficiaries to construct better houses to improve on the infrastructures so that the leadership can start advocating for municipal status in Abim town council.
Capt. Rtd. Juventine Omara, the LC5 chairperson of Abim district said that they received a list from the Office of the Prime Minister and more people were left out, something that may cause challenges for the leaders if not harmonized.
Omara noted that so far they have only received iron sheets for 14 sub counties leaving out more two and yet the beneficiaries were generated in the entire district.
He observed that out of the 470 beneficiaries whose names appeared in the list, at least 159 will miss out following the number of iron sheets delivered to the district.
Omara appealed to the government to consider procuring more iron sheets for the people who are going to miss so that everyone remains happy.
Meanwhile, Norbert Katsirabo, the commissioner of Pacification and Development at the Office of the Prime Minister said that they have delivered 10,686 iron sheets to the district to benefit 470 members.
He said each beneficiary shall be given 26 iron sheets of which 24 will be for constructing the house while the four shall be used for the toilet.
Katsirabo said that the beneficiaries were selected by the local leadership and the joint security team at the grassroots because they are the ones who know best the targeted group.
Katsirabo reiterates that the main aim of the program is to improve the living condition of the Karamojong people if the iron sheets are used for the intended purpose.
He also added that they are committed to ensuring that the Karamojong communities maintain hygiene and sanitation at household levels so that they can live a healthy life.
Simon Peter Lokeris, the State Minister for Minerals and Energy who presided over the launch urged the iron sheets beneficiaries to ensure that they construct the houses that will uphold the dignity of the Karamojong communities.
Lokeris warned those with a negative attitude towards building houses with iron sheets should surrender them to the people who are interested rather than wasting resources.
He urged the beneficiaries to consider putting the iron sheets in better use so that they can develop like any other part of the country who are moving forward for modernity.
Lokeris said that the team of security will be moving around to inspect and see the people who managed to set up their structures while those who sold their iron sheets will be arrested for sabotaging government programs.